Evidence of meeting #24 for Canadian Heritage in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was flag.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Catherine Cuerrier
Marc Toupin  Legislative Clerk, House of Commons

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

Mr. Siksay.

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Thank you, Chair.

I wonder if Monsieur Toupin could comment on the issue of scope in terms of amendments that are made. Often when I've been in a committee, that seems to be where we get into trouble, where something is deemed to be outside the scope of the original bill in terms of trying to amend. So could you provide a few comments on that issue?

3:45 p.m.

Legislative Clerk, House of Commons

Marc Toupin

Mr. Chairman, the scope of the bill is generally defined as the means by which the objectives of the bill are attained. It's very difficult to describe it in greater detail than to just give that very general description or definition that I've just given.

I would, however, encourage any members who wish to put forward amendments to the bill at committee stage that if they have concerns about some of their amendments that perhaps are beyond the scope of the bill or that there would be some sort of procedural difficulty with these amendments, it's always possible to consult with me, with legislative counsel, to get our advice.

Of course, this is advice that is not binding in any way. The ultimate decision rests with the chair of the committee. But certainly I would be more than pleased to provide any advice to any member of the committee on amendments that he or she would like to put forward.

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

I'll take one supplementary, and then we'll go to Mr. Coderre.

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Monsieur Toupin, when you ask the drafters to help you prepare an amendment, is that automatically the question of scope? Is that automatically part of what they do, or do you have to get a separate opinion on that?

3:45 p.m.

Legislative Clerk, House of Commons

Marc Toupin

Legislative counsel essentially will draft the amendments based on the instructions they've received from the members, and they will forward the draft amendment to the sponsoring member. At that time, it really becomes a discussion between the member who wants the amendment and counsel as to what's the best way of accomplishing what the member's objectives are. It's entirely possible at that point for the member to consult with me just by forwarding a copy of the amendment and making sure there's an ongoing discussion to ensure that—

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

Thank you.

Mr. Coderre.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am delighted to now be a member of this committee. As we say back home, time is money. It's important to find a way to be useful and to achieve results.

I have to admit that I am having a bit of a problem because we worked on the draft legislation on censorship. Bill C-327 deals more or less with the same topic. I would appreciate our colleague explaining how we can save some time. Does he need a motion right now so that we can wrap up our study of the bill and thus prevent it from being considered further at later stages? Do we need to come forward with a motion respecting committee business which would then be put to a vote? You talked about how we should proceed. What is the best course of action? Can I move a motion at this time? How should we proceed?

3:50 p.m.

Legislative Clerk, House of Commons

Marc Toupin

Mr. Chairman, this is for the committee to decide. If the committee is ready to examine this matter right away, then it can choose to do that. If, however, it prefers to take a few days to look into this, then that is also its prerogative.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

So then, Mr. Chairman, I could move...

The wording is important, so we have to make sure that it's according to procedure, but I would be ready to put my name on a motion and deal with it right now.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

Could you write a motion?

Mr. Siksay.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Before Monsieur Coderre does that, I wonder if he might delay, because we could schedule the clause-by-clause for one of our meetings next week.

I'm in the middle of trying to get a determination on some amendments. I am concerned as well, as he is, about the issue of censorship. I don't want to see anything done that would in any way look like we were proposing censorship measures. But I think there were other issues raised during the hearings, such as media literacy awareness, the accountability of broadcasters for the codes that are already in place, and the evaluation of that process and how it is done.

Barring advice otherwise from legislative counsel, I think there may be an opportunity to amend the bill to accomplish some of those things, given the kinds of concerns we've had raised about violence in programming and the effect of depictions of violence on violence in society generally.

Again, I don't want to do anything that gives anyone the ability to arbitrarily censor programming. But I think there may be ways of taking this bill and ensuring that people are working to understand the connections between depictions of violence in programming and violence in society and that they are helping others understand those connections and the possibilities for addressing those issues.

All I'm asking for is a bit more time to get that feedback and to do it at one of our meetings next week.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

Go ahead, Mr. Abbott.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Just by way of advice, I would suspect that because of our rule on having 48 hours' notice, in fact, unless there is unanimous consent on the part of the members, Mr. Coderre's motion wouldn't be acceptable at this time, in any event.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

I take that under advisement. Again, we do have a 48-hour notice of motion rule.

Do we have unanimous consent to accept a motion from Mr. Coderre today?

If we don't have that, then I suggest you present the notice of motion today, and we can deal with it first thing Tuesday.

April 3rd, 2008 / 3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

On a point of order, I do remember that for procedure, when we're dealing with the business of the day, which is exactly what's in it, you don't need that 48 hours' notice. You can have the motion right away and deal with it.

So I would ask the clerk what she has in mind, because we are dealing with Bill C-327.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

I've consulted. In this committee we have a 48-hour notice of motion rule. It's been brought forward. We haven't allowed other motions to come forward. And it was 48 hours, not two sleeps. We went through some of those things.

So my suggestion is that we prepare the motion, set forth the notice of motion, and bring it up first thing at our next meeting on Tuesday.

Yes, Mr. Fast.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

I think what Mr. Coderre is asking for is to simply deal with the bill on a clause-by-clause basis, but to do it on an omnibus basis. Rather than do it by way of motions, take all the clauses at once, and that's it.

Normally we'd walk through this clause by clause. Is it correct...?

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

Yes, but we're not doing clause-by-clause right now.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

I understand. What he's trying to do is avoid the whole clause-by-clause by simply doing it in one stroke. I understand that.

Is that the understanding?

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

My issue, Mr. Chair, is that when I'm looking at the orders of the day, we're talking about committee business, and it's about the bill, and it's a clause-by-clause study. Now, if it's a clause-by-clause study, it means I'm directly in the business of what we're talking about.

Regarding the procedure, if I have a motion on how we deal with the clause-by-clause issue, which is under Standing Order 97.1(1), by saying that we're not proceeding further with that bill, we're killing all the clauses and we're dealing with the business of the day.

So it's not a new motion about a new issue; it's about dealing directly with what I have in front of me.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

I'll take some of the responsibility, then, for the order that you see in front of you. We are not doing the clause-by-clause study today. We're debating what we're going to do in the proceeding meetings on that issue.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

On that issue. So I'm saying that what I'm proposing on that issue as business is that we are proceeding with it in order that we're not proceeding with it at all under Standing Order 97.1(1).

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Gary Schellenberger

Mr. Abbott.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Chairman, I don't know if this is helpful or not, but I think there's an ambiguity here. I believe that what you intended on this notice of motion was to discuss how we were going to go about clause-by-clause study, not that we were.

Okay, I understand that, but unfortunately—and as I say, I don't know whether I'm being helpful or not—the fact is that if you read it the way you read it, although that may have been your intention.... Nonetheless if you read it, it says the bill, clause-by-clause study, and Bill C-327.